There is a new way to visit Japan's Seto Inland Sea, one that requires a taste for luxury with a flair for adventure - the luxury floating hotel, Guntû. The 81.2 meter long, 38 passenger, 46 crew-member ship set sail in October 2017, departing from Bella Vista Marina in Onomichi City, travelling around a very scenic route along the Chugoku and Shikoku coastlines facing the Seto Inland Sea, before returning to the Bella Vista Marina. It is owned by Setouchi Cruise, Inc. and promises that, "the experience aboard will include small moments of quiet enjoyment as well as moments of dramatic exhilaration."
Designed by respected architect, Yasushi Horibe, the ship’s Japanese inn style accommodations are sure to please anyone that chooses to make one of 19 elegantly appointed passenger cabins their home for the duration of their 3 night, 2 night or 1 night stay. Ranging in size from 50 to 95 square meters, the cabins are sheathed in various, rich honey-colored woods - alder wood is used on the walls and ceilings, and ash wood on the floors. Guests feel totally encapsulated in comfort and are encouraged to kick off their shoes - as is customary in Japan - and make themselves at home. A home that allows them to pad barefoot along their private (Japanese cypress and walnut wood) patios and decks; enjoy the sauna or the treatment rooms; or savor a tea in the tearoom as they watch the rhythmic flow of the sea carrying them to their next location.
Mealtimes are a sacred ritual in this country, reflected not only in the careful consideration of the onboard menu which features a seasonal variety of dishes representative to the Setouchi area, prepared by master chefs, but also in the onboard restaurant's simple yet graceful décor. As with the cabins, the designer keeps furnishings minimal and allows for the use of beautiful natural wood on the walls, ceiling and floor to set the tone. The furnishings themselves are of the same wood and almost look as if they "blend in" with their surroundings.
For decorative trappings, bells and whistles aren't needed. And why would they be, when the passing views outside and the care and consideration paid to each guest inside the ship are more valuable? In fact, we can imagine that it might take some convincing for guests to disembark onto the ship’s tenders that arrive to take them to the various stops along their scheduled journeys. For what adventure could be greater than enjoying this beautiful ship itself?